James S. Fishkin

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James S. Fishkin
Born 1948
Education Yale University BA and PhD; Cambridge University PhD
Occupation Professor, author

James S. Fishkin (born 1948) is a professor in the Department of Communication at Stanford University. Fishkin is a widely cited scholar on his work on deliberative democracy. Along with Robert Luskin (no connection to Karl Rove's attorney of the same name), he has pioneered a model of polling called the deliberative poll.


Fishkin received his BA degree and Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University. He holds a second Ph.D. in Philosophy from Cambridge University, United Kingdom. He is the current director of Stanford's Center for Deliberative Democracy and is Chair of the Department of Communication at Stanford.[1]

Deliberative poll[edit]

The deliberative opinion poll takes a representative random sample of the people and brings the people together at a place to deliberate about an issue. The people are provided briefing materials which are made in concert with all interested parties and done in a way so as to represent each position in a balanced way. The people are asked to vote after a day or more of deliberation. The decisions made by such arrangements have been alternatively used to elect candidates in primaries (Greece) or recommend policy decisions (China, Texas) etc. It was the basis of the The People's Parliament, a Channel 4 program on which Fishkin was a consultant that aired in the UK (1994-1999).

More than 40 such deliberative polls have now taken place around the world including China, Greece, the UK.



Deliberative democracy
  • Democracy and Deliberation: New Directions for Democratic Reform (1991)
  • The Dialogue of Justice: Toward a Self-Reflective Society (1992)
  • The Voice of the People: Public Opinion and Democracy (1995)
  • Deliberation Day (Yale Press, 2004) (with Bruce Ackerman)
  • Debating Deliberative Democracy (with Peter Laslett) (Blackwell Publishing Limited, 2003)
  • When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy and Public Consultation (2009)
Political theory and philosophy
  • Tyranny and Legitimacy: A Critique of Political Theories (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1979)
  • Beyond Subjective Morality: Ethical Reasoning and Political Philosophy (Yale University Press, 1986)
  • Limits of Obligation (Yale University Press, 1982)
  • Justice, Equal Opportunity and the Family (Yale University Press,1984)
Prominent journal papers

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Stanford Department of Communication http://comm.stanford.edu/faculty-fishkin/